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Legacy Night at SEB unites alumni, current students

    The halls of Southeast Bulloch High School were filled with new and old faces Monday as current students and alumni came together to say farewell to the school’s 52-year-old main building.
    The high school, built in 1955, will close its doors over the summer. And on Saturday, 168 students from Southeast Bulloch will become the final graduates from the “old school.”
    The brand new SEB is located behind the current building and is expected to open in August for the 2007-08 school year.
    Monday’s "Legacy Night" began with a stroll through the school. After former teachers, students, principals and parents shared memories of the old building and plans for the new one, a farewell assembly was held in the cafeteria.
    Among the alumni attending Legacy Night were Richard Smith and Jerry Sharpe. Smith and Sharpe were two of Southeast Bulloch’s first graduating class in 1956.
As the two friends sat near the main entrance of the school, Smith turned around and pointed to a small courtyard behind him.
    “We graduated right in the breezeway. Fifty-two of us on a homemade stage,” he said.
    The high school was first opened to merge the schools from Brooklet, Stilson and Nevils. The friends described the relationship among the students from the surrounding areas as a sour one. Smith said they were constantly disagreeing on things like voting for the class officers. “Fight, that’s all we’d do!”
    “We had 53 students and when we voted on class president, I think we had 70 votes turned in!” said Sharpe.
    One of the best memories of high school that Smith and Sharpe shared with old friends is one of their most humorous ones. Before the 1956 graduation ceremony, the principal at the time, W.E. Gaer, had warned the students to be careful on the homemade stage. He told Sharpe, “Y’all boys are going to fall off the stage!” but during the commencement, Gaer was the one to fall off of the stage.
    Rita Brown, also of the class of 1956, remembers the principal’s accident well. “We had to stop for about 10 minutes to laugh after we made sure he wasn’t hurt!”
    Brown and her best friend, Sylvia Prosser were two of the five students of their graduating class to attend Legacy Night.
    Prosser is not only an alumnus of Southeast Bulloch High School, she is currently teaching at her alma mater. She also taught the 8th grade from 1966-1968. While at Legacy Night she had a chance to catch up with some of her former students. Phil and Sunny Denmark, of the class of 1972, were Prosser’s students in 1967.
    Phil Denmark shared some of his favorite memories with his wife and teachers after the Farewell Assembly. One of his clearest memories was of his math teacher, Autrey Moore.
    “He never managed to teach me algebra, but extra credit was to sing the alma mater and I still remember it,” Denmark said
    Outside of teaching math and music lessons, Moore also taught Denmark how to tie a tie.
    While the excitement about the new building was evident at Legacy Night, it was clear that the first home of the high school will be missed.
    SEB’s current principal Joni-Walker Seier reminded everyone at Legacy Night that the memories of the school will live on long after it is gone. She said that the new building will add to the legacy and will simply be, “a new face for the same old place.”

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